It is only the third day of RecrearApply, but I feel I have known our project participants for ages. It’s amazing also because new people keep coming in. That is encouraging, but also challenging: can we actually meet all their expectations? Since they do have such different interests! We have had participants majoring in geology, conflict resolution, linguistics, religious studies and that’s not even the whole list.
As I had to go to work during the first two days of the project, my schedule was somewhat hectic. I had to prepare for teaching my classes, go teach them and to work on RecrearApply. Luckily, there are 24 hours in day, which was quite enough to do all the work, but not really enough to get any sleep. Preparing to session 3 went in a calmer and, thus, more productive way. I also enjoyed it a lot, because it was an intercultural session and simply preparing for it was already fun. I have remembered so many things that have happened to me, which could be called as culture shock. Unfortunately, we have spent all these days working, so Nolan haven’t had a chance to experience culture shock in Kazan, besides the time when he’s seen the truck driving on the sidewalk right by the window.
Third session went really amazing: we talked about cultural differences, targeting specifically those the participants might face in Europe and Northern America since these are the places they are most interested in going to. There is no place like home, but we tried to give some tips how to feel more comfortable living in a different culture. We also talked about the importance of knowing your own culture and how we perceive other cultures in relation to ours.
Another important thing we talked about was culture shock. Our participants had a lot to share; most of them have been abroad. It was even more interesting, because we could immediately see that everything that we were talking about was relevant and that they have gone through the same stages of culture shock we have mentioned. We have also suggested the ways of coping with culture shock. Everyone had a very emotional reaction when we were talking about the re-entry shock, which has always been the biggest problem for me in all my travels. I guess everyone agreed that Russians should smile more, and today we had a good practice!
I was open and honest about my own cultural experiences and appreciated so much that the participants were willing to share not only their positive experience, but negative ones too.
On a personal ‘cultural’ note: today in a grocery store a lady me and Nolan were buying bread from, told me that they have the best bread in Kazan and invited to come over again. I go to that store like every single week and have never experienced a nicer treatment such as coming there with a Canadian!